In the early 1970s, the Trinidad Civic Club decided to establish a memorial at the lighthouse for those lost at sea. The memorial started as a marble slab engraved with sea gulls and the words "Lost At Sea," but has steadily grown through the years. In 1975, the club created a four-sided, pyramidal, rock-cement monument, located near the fog bell, that supports plaques inscribed with names of those lost at sea. Inscriptions were later added for those who were buried at sea, and the list of names soon outgrew the plaques on the small monument, so additional plaques were placed along the adjacent cement retaining wall.
Each year on the last Sunday in May, friends and families gather to remember those whose names are recorded on the plaques. Originally, the fog bell was only rung at the Memorial Day gatherings, but through the generosity of Dave Zebo, a long-time resident and a former mayor of Trinidad, the bell has been automated to toll each day at noon in memory of those buried and lost at sea. Click here to hear the bell toll a couple of times (the flag at the memorial was at half-staff due to the then recent passing of President Ford).
In August 1998, new windows and a new stainless steel dome were installed atop the tower thanks to the efforts of community volunteers and Tom Odom, a former mayor of Trinidad.
Following a season of heavy rains, the ground surrounding Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse started to slip in March 2017. SHN Consulting Engineers & Geologists of Eureka investigated the unstable slope beneath the lighthouse and submitted a report based on drill borings and readings from slope inclinometers to the city. The report read, in part: “In light of the observed ground displacements over the previous two wet seasons, we are of the opinion that failure to stabilize at least a portion of the head of the landslide complex or move the lighthouse prior to the onset of the coming winter could result in the structure and foundation being comprised.” The civic club launched a Gofundme page to raise $100,000 to move the lighthouse, but after a month, less than a tenth of that amount had been pledged.